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Jock Itch

 

What is jock itch?

Jock itch is a skin fungal infection, medically known as tinea cruris. Jock itch mainly affects adult men, though women can also develop it. The fungi are commonly found on the skin and nails and are quite harmless. Jock itch got its name because it tends to develop in active, sportsmen and those that wear protective gear to protect their genitals during exercise. However, any tight-fitting clothes can increase the chances of jock itch developing.

What are the symptoms of jock itch?

Jock itch usually causes a red rash that is often painful or itchy, it usually has raised, scaly edges. Jock itch can affect the inner thighs, groin, genitals and lower buttocks. It can spread and cause dry, scaly skin and you may develop red-brown sores and even blisters. The rash can cause a symmetrical rash on both sides of the groin fold. Jock itch can stretch all the way from the groin to the scrotum.

What causes jock itch?

Jock itch is caused by a fungus. Fungi love humid, damp conditions and thrive in areas where the skin folds and is in contact with other skin.  This fungus is commonly present in gyms and locker rooms as they are steamy and damp towels and clothes are left around.

What are the risk factors for jock itch?

You are more likely to get jock itch if:

  • You frequently wear tight fitting clothes.
  • You play sports and use a sports guard.
  • Overweight men with folds of touching skin.
  • Share towels, floors etc with a person who has a fungal infection.
  • Type 1 Diabetes might increase the risk.
  • Low immune system
  • If you have athlete’s foot.

Is jock itch contagious?

Yes, jock itch is contagious and can be spread by skin to skin contact. It can also be spread by sharing contaminated items such as towels, bed sheets, clothing and shoes.

What is the diagnosis for jock itch?

A doctor can diagnose jock itch by examining the infected area, the doctor might scrape the affected skin and send it away to confirm what type of fungi is causing the infection. It is important to find where the infection came from so it doesn’t recur.

What is the treatment for jock itch?

Treatment for jock itch involves eliminating the fungi. Most cases of jock itch can be treated effectively with over the counter anti-fungal products and good hygiene. The most effective creams to buy are antifungal creams that contain clotrimazole.

The cream should be applied to the infected area but also to the normal skin 4-6cm around the rash. Read the enclosed instructions carefully. Ensure you continue treatment for 2 weeks after the symptoms have cleared.

If the treatment hasn’t worked then you should book an appointment to see your doctor. Antifungal tablets can be prescribed for stubborn infections. If you continue to suffer your doctor might suggest a swab is taken so the exact organism that is causing the infection can be identified.

How do I prevent jock itch?

As fungi thrive in damp conditions try wearing loose fitting clothes and underwear. Always change clothes and underwear after sweating and shower as soon as possible after exercise.  Avoid sharing towels. Use talc in areas prone to sweat to reduce moisture. Wash clothes and bed linen frequently and at hot temperatures to kill the fungi.

What are the long-term effects of jock itch?

Most people can usually treat the condition before it spreads and complications are rare. In severe cases, damaged skin can become infected by bacteria leading to cellulitis, an infection of the deep layers of skin. If you suspect cellulitis you should contact your doctor straight away for treatment.

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